With the 2012 NFL Draft growing closer and closer, many members of the Kansas City sports media and fans alike are excited about the possible #11 overall draft pick of Luke Kuechly.
Kuechly, a six foot three inch, 242 pound linebacker from Boston College seems to be the accepted, or nearly accepted, consensus draft pick for the Kansas City Chiefs.
I, for one, hope this is NOT the case. Here are my three reasons.
The Chiefs play a 3-4, you say? In that case, I will tell you Jovan Belcher isn’t too bad either. You don’t have to believe me? The Chiefs don’t think he’s so bad either, giving him nearly $2M for the 2012 season. Belcher coupled with the return… ahemmm… first appearance of 2011 pre-season signee, Brandon Siler, the Chiefs don’t need a third guy to fill one potentially tiny hole in the linebacker corp.
My biggest problem with the NFL draft and the system as a whole, and maybe I am way off, but every conversation I have had on the topic usually results in a similar outcome – with agreement from the other side – NFL draft picks are extremely overrated.
I am not simply referring to high first round draft picks; I am referring to ALL draft picks! Stay with me for a moment, don’t roll your eyes and click away.
Every year, every NFL team’s general manager and head coach have similar spiels – “This guy can develop into a player much like ______ _______” or “In three years we think he will be a Pro Bowler.”
Here is a thought, and I would bet EVERYTHING, It will work 99.9% of the time… Trade your draft pick for the guy currently playing who you think/hope your draft pick will become.
Let’s take a second and think about it without over-reacting.
What did the Chiefs get in return when they traded away the greatest tight end in the history of the NFL? Answer: the 2nd round pick of the Atlanta Falcons in the 2010 NFL draft. In turn, the Chiefs were left needing to fill a hole left by the greatest player ever at his position.
With that 2nd round pick, the Chiefs selected a punt returner, Javier Arenas (Yes, I agree he has improved in his defensive abilities). Later, in the fourth round, the Chiefs selected tight end Tony Moeaki.
What has Tony Gonzalez done since leaving Kansas City? In two season in Atlanta, Gonzalez has played in every game, catching 243 passes for 2398 yards and scoring 19 touchdowns – an average of 81 receptions, 799 yards, 6.3 TDs.
Gonzalez’s career averages per season are 76.6 receptions, 889.2 yards, 6.3 TDs.
Tony Gonzalez is a prime example, but there are many other cases of elite talent being traded for next to nothing. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, the trade, nearly always, comes out in favor of the team who acquired the veteran superstar.
The average length of a career of a player in the NFL is 3.5 years. The average length of a player who makes an opening day roster in his rookie season is 6 years. The average length of a first round draft pick is 9.3 years. All these numbers come straight from the NFL.
I, for one, would like to see more teams trade OUT of the draft for established players, rather than DOWN in the drafft for bigger unknowns.
With the over-rating of NFL draft picks, I ask – Who are some stars that could be had for a first round draft pick?